I thought there was an earthquake yesterday here in East Trenton: the animals were freaked out (don't they have a sense about impending doom?) and the whole house was shaking. I looked out the window and saw a dump truck and an excavator ripping apart the driveway skirts in front of my neighbors' driveways. A piece of concrete (possibly from the one neighbor's brand spanking new sidewalk?) must not have crumbled effectively, so the man operating the excavator slammed the shovel portion of his vehicle repeatedly into it, creating the earthquake sensation.
Matthew and I were waiting for my sisters and some of the kids to arrive — we met my father in Delaware last night for dinner — and they showed up a few minutes after the men finished maiming the driveways across the street, and as they made their way to mine. The dump truck pulled alongside Jenny's airport shuttle, and backed up, dangerously close, and the excavator started its disorderly, but capable destruction of our driveway skirt.
It was about 3:30 in the afternoon, and plenty of school kids were still around: we live a block from the middle school. I found it odd that the city would be annihilating our sidewalk at that time of day, and without notifying us first, but then I remembered the knock on the door at 9 a.m. yesterday, which, admittedly, I ignored. Most of the time, unannounced visitors are religious zealots, racist alarm salesmen, crackheads, and/or crackhead entrepreneurs wanting to mow my lawn, and I am just too tired to deal with those people anymore. I have a sign on my door urging them to leave me alone, but it doesn't work all the time, since I still get a lot of the above types knocking on my door.
We were running late, as my father was about to pull into the restaurant, so I strapped Matthew in, and we were off. Glen got home a short time later, and found out from a neighbor that the city is installing handicap ramps. In our driveways.
Now, please don't think I have anything against folks in wheelchairs, even though I've only seen one guy in a wheelchair around here, and he was — no lie — selling drugs on the corner, and WAY too cool to use the sidewalks anyway. When he made the drop, he took his hand off the wheel, and rolled back into the sewer drain, which was (yes, I suck) one of the funniest things I ever saw. But only because he was a drug dealer. I promise I wouldn't have laughed if he was just a regular person, you know, not selling drugs on my corner. Still, I understand that there may be other handicapped people around here, even though I've only seen that one fellow, and maybe they don't get out as much as they should because the sidewalks aren't set up for them. However, our driveways — even on the alley side, where the sidewalk intersects the driveway — were already rather accommodating to wheelchairs, since they, you know, accommodate vehicles.
My sisters dropped us off at home around 8:30 last night, and our neighbors' driveways were corralled with "Caution" tape. Ours — the same side as the school, mind you — was open, with some sort of broken rod jammed in the middle of it. I realize that it's not always possible to finish what you start the day your begin your project, but I just want to note that it's now after 10 a.m. the next day, and there is no sign of the city's workers. So, not just people in wheelchairs are going to have problems walking down the street, but everyone will. And, we can't use our garage, which I suppose is just as well, since it was shot in there anyway.
I realize that I'm just a nerd in her pajamas with a computer. I can't even drive a dump truck. But Operation: Driveway Destruction strikes me as lame-brained. The city should be ripping up the corners where the sidewalks meet the street, which are not handicapped accessible here. We happen to have a higher-than-normal drop from curb to street on the corner due to an originally moronic job by the city and/or settling issue (which is probably why the wheelchair-bound drug dealer rolled so well into the drain grate).